The treatment of local football club Wisbech Acorns by the National Trust raises questions as to whether they have lost touch with their charitable purpose – in the very town of the National Trust founder Octavia Hill.
Now the football pitches which until recently were used for youth matches are overgrown, the site has attracted vandals who have set fire to the clubhouse, and the Trust has lost the revenue the club were paying.
Wisbech Acorns FC Chairman’s Rob Gifford rented the playing fields for £500 a quarter and had to maintain the pitch themselves. However, after they left the site, he tells me the National Trust still continued to send letters to the Club asking for further work to be done by the club volunteers.
“They were merciless to us. They even made us pay after we’d left the site, knowing the financial losses we’d suffered whilst renting the fields. They were still contacting me regarding cutting the trees down affecting the highway- but we had left in February 2018.”
The National Trust was founded by local social reformer Octavia Hill who was born and bred in Wisbech, as many residents will know. The National Trust accredit her legacy with the work they do today, but it is difficult to see how they would be proud of the state of the land at Harecroft Road.
I am pleased that Wisbech Acorns have now found a new home in Gorefield, and have written to the National Trust to ask questions as to why the playing pitches have been allowed to become such a mess and the club treated in this way.